In one of the largest cases ever filed under the Superfund statute, Hecla Mining will pay $263 million in claims to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, State of Idaho and the U.S. government for cleanup costs and natural resource damage. Settlement funds will be dedicated to restoration and remediation of natural resources in the Coeur d'Alene Basin. The agreement was filed in U.S. District Court today.
In 1991, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe launched a suit against Hecla. The federal government joined the suit in 1996. The state of Idaho officially joined the suit today in order to participate in the settlement. The suit sought damages for injuries to clean water, fish and birds caused by millions of tons of mining waste released into the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River and its tributaries.
"This settlement means cleanup and mining can now move forward together in the Silver Valley," said Dennis McLerran, EPA regional administrator. "Today's agreement not only provides more money for cleanup, but helps lay the foundation for a stronger future, one built in mining stewardship, a healthier environment and a growing vibrant economy."